Friday, April 22, 2011

Bad Friday?

Good Friday. What an odd title for such a day as this. For on this day the Prince of Glory was abused and suffered a travesty of justice, a farce of a trial, and was hauled outside Jerusalem like a common criminal. There on a desolate hill appropriately named The Skull he was put to the most shameful and painful death the ancient world had at its disposal. And yet we call this day “Good”. How can that be – should this not be “Bad Friday”?

In many respects it is bad, for on this day we see humanity at its worst. God finally arrived on earth as a fully Incarnate man, and the path of his life lead not to victorious glory but a painful, humiliating death. How ironic that the Good of Jesus brought out the Worst in People. Yes, when we look at the cross we see ourselves at our worst – the offense of the Cross of Jesus is that it exposes human sin. Things really are this bad. Judas asked, “Is it I?” who would betray Jesus, and on Good Friday we ask ourselves, “Is it I?” who put him on the cross?

But the mystery and power of God’s redemption is that, “By his blood he reconciled us, and by his wounds we are healed” (BCP p. 370, para. Isaiah 53:5). On this bad and terrible day, unbeknownst to all those gathered on Golgotha, God was actually doing something Good. Something he had promised from ages past that would undo all the sorrowful, hurtful, wrong things of this world. God would forgive sins, wash away sorrow and guilt, and begin a New Creation. The offense of the cross is that it exposes human sin – the glory of the cross is that it also washes away human sin. God did all of this out of his great love for us at our worst (not our best!). All it cost was the life of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world

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